Paradise Amidst The Chaos. Paros Island, Greece

 

Picture this: you are sitting in an idyllic place, overlooking the Aegean Sea, enjoying the peace…and then two cruise ships berth out of nowhere, literally hundreds of people spill onto the shore and are shuffled military-style throughout aforementioned idyllic place.

 

General chaos ensues. Peace is shattered.

 

If that is not your idea of a Greek paradise then the Mykonos’ and Santorinis of the Greek Islands are not going to be what, well…floats your boat.

 

 

Santorini, Greek Islands

Santorini, Greek Islands.


 

Santorini is a visual treat. It rises out of the water like something straight out of Homer’s Odyssey and the views from the top of the ‘crater’ island are unforgettable. And we all familiar with the famous Santorini sunsets.

 

All that considered, I have never had any desire to go back to Santorini because my strongest memory is of the literal hordes of people. It took the magic out of it and I was there outside of the peak season?

 

 

Piso Livadi, Paros Island. Greece.

Piso Livadi, Paros Island. Greece.


 

While I was in the Greek Islands recently, I spoke to two young backpackers who, having just come from Mykonos, were enamoured with the laid-back, authentic ‘Greek’ atmosphere of Paros Island.

 

“The crowds in Mykonos were like nothing we’ve ever seen,” they said wide-eyed, “The cruise ships just kept on coming. Hundreds and hundreds of people each day.”

They were in Mykonos in early May.

 

 

Paros Island. Greece.

Paros Island. Greece.

 


Paros Island is off the cruise ship path, and so it doesn’t get the same sort of crowds. It has retained its traditional appeal and it is incredibly chilled out, particularly in the villages outside the port town of Parikia.

 

Head into the tiny hill towns or the pretty villages on the coast and you will start to feel like you are really in Greece.

 

 

Naoussa, Paros Island.

Naoussa, Paros Island.

 

 

On Paros, life is slowed down and you can’t help but keep pace.

 

You still have the whitewash buildings, the beaches, the mesmerising colors of the Aegean, the very ‘Greek island’ atmosphere…..it’s just all a bit more real; more authentic. There is not the glitz or glamour of the other two islands but to me this works in its favour.

 

 

Marina Cafe in Parikia, Paros Island.

Marina Cafe in Parikia, Paros Island.


 

Despite the dismal economic situation in Greece, the Parian’s spirit is somewhat shaken but not defeated. They are holding fast, determined to bring any possible good out of a bad situation.

 

Tourism on these smaller Greek Islands has dropped dramatically. Accommodations that would usually be booked months in advance for these summer months have rooms still waiting to be filled.

 

 

Rena Rooms Pension - Parikia, Paros Island.

Rena Rooms Pension – Parikia, Paros Island.


 

At a time when Greece needs them the most, travellers are choosing to go elsewhere.

 

Greece gets a pretty bad wrap on CNN and other global news channels. At the first sign of any political rally or unrest, the media is all over it, like vultures.

 

 

Paros Island

 

I understand that unrest makes people nervous but there are two things worth keeping in mind if this is the reason you are hesitating about travelling to Greece….

 

  1. These rallies almost always happen in Athens, not on the Greek Islands. You don’t have to stay in Athens if you don’t want to. It’s easy to head straight to the islands. There are some carriers (EasyJet is one) that will fly directly from some cities in Europe to a few of the larger islands, completely bypassing Athens.
  1. Remember just how much the media tends to blow things out of proportion. There may have been a political riot in Paris last week (there wasn’t) but because Greece is what has everyone talking at the moment, Greece is what we hear about.  And boy, do we hear about it!

 

 

Paros Island

Parikia, Paros Island.

 

 

In the evenings on Paros, the streets are peaceful and life goes on as usual.

 

I pass older couples out enjoying the traditional volta (evening stroll), the squares are filled with sounds of children laughing and playing and the tavernas are brightly lit, serving traditional Greek food by the plateful.

 

 

Paros Island

 

 

No matter what their political and economic situation is, Greece is still Greece.  And visiting the Greek Islands now, is still as wonderful as it always was.

*  *  *  *

If you are worried about what will happen to the value of your Euro if Greece leaves the European Union, read this informative article by Reena at Wanderplex to get an overview of the situation and where you stand.

 

 

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Comments (12)
  • Avatar

    despina Jun 11 2012 - 10:25 am Reply

    A great article! Thank you for supporting my country’s tourism at these difficult times. Only a small correction. Greece is indeed a mediterranean country, however the sea you’re overlooking from Mykonos, Paros or Santorini is the Aegean Sea. Next time you’re around, take the time to visit Antiparos, the tiny island next to Paros for a more quiet time and beautiful, green waters. happy travels

    d
    despina recently posted.."i know you are, but what am i?"My Profile

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      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:28 pm Reply

      Thanks for pointing that out, Despina and glad you liked the article. Greece is wonderful and I hope things get better for you all very soon.

  • Avatar

    Stephanie - The Travel Chica Jun 11 2012 - 2:08 pm Reply

    I already love this island!

    I feel the same way about Santorini. Absolutely beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to fight the crowds again.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Tarabuco, Bolivia: More Than a Cheap Sunday MarketMy Profile

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      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:30 pm Reply

      Some people don’t mind the crowds but I really feel it can suck the magic out of a place. I much prefer travelling in the off-season.

  • Avatar

    Kindra Jun 11 2012 - 10:39 pm Reply

    Lovely photos! How did you hear about Paros, and were there other small islands you were also considering visiting?
    Kindra recently posted..Biking to EdamMy Profile

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      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:34 pm Reply

      Kindra, my mum has been to Paros several times and this is my third time there…I can’t remember how we found out about it to be honest. I also visited Poros Island in the Saronic Gulf which is just gorgeous and were thinking of going to Amorgos, but ran out of time.

  • Avatar

    David Jun 12 2012 - 1:10 am Reply

    Cherina, you will boost Greece’s and in particular Paros’ economy with this article alone. Better learn some Greek….!!!

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jun 23 2012 - 12:36 pm Reply

      I SO wish that were true, David! If only things were that easy. Every little bit helps though, at least that’s what I tell myself :)

  • Avatar

    Lois Cooley via Facebook Jun 20 2012 - 7:34 am Reply

    A paradise in the Aegean!

  • Avatar

    Frankie Jul 3 2012 - 3:00 pm Reply

    I have visited the Greek Islands several times and have been so saddened to hear about all the economic troubles. It’s great to hear that the Greek spirit is still alive and kicking though. Beautiful photos.

    • Avatar

      Quiet Wanderings Jul 4 2012 - 3:19 pm Reply

      I agree completely, Frankie. It is sad, but the Greeks are tough – they will come out fighting.

  • Avatar

    Andrew Darwitan Sep 26 2015 - 6:39 pm Reply

    I completely agree. Santorini is spectacular, but the crowd takes the magic away just a little. Paros is more authentic and is the kind of Greece I expected Santorini/Mykonos to be. We visited Parikia, Naoussa & Lefkes in Paros and were really happy we decided to squeeze it into our already tight itinerary. =)
    Andrew Darwitan recently posted..Greece D3: Naoussa Takes Romance Up a NodgeMy Profile

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